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Mercedes 300D Suggestions



  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 17,593
    Could read through all 444 of these postings and still go out and buy one of these cars is beyond me!

    Still, for some perverse reason, I like these cars. Not enough to go out and buy one but I do like them.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,403
    I think you could say the same about the 300D as Mark Twain said about the music of Wagner: "It's better than it sounds".

    Some cars get this kind of "mythology" built around them, so when you actually bring out the true facts behind the myth, it makes it sound worse than it is. It's all relative. If a hyped-up Hollywood celebrity ends up selling shoes it's a tragedy, but if a drunk sobers up and sells shoes, it's a great thing.

    All cars have faults and it's best to know them and with this knowledge you can anticipate them and work them out. If someone tells me "I just bought a 300D and the seller says all it needs is a recharge" well I know that if probably not true, because we are dealing with a chronic problem here.


  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 17,593
    These forums are like hospitals. They attract people with problems and we don't hear the success stories very often.

    I've learned that when a car's A/C isn't working, it's never "just a charge" that's needed. That freon had to go somewhere and that applies to ALL cars!
  • bio0rb100bio0rb100 Posts: 4
    “..These forums are like hospitals..”

    Well here is a success story that didn’t have anything to do with a “hospital” :0).

    5 years ago I was Sunday driving in Gastonia NC and I happened across a 1984 Mercedes Benz 190D forsale so I stopped, checked it out and drove it, the guy was a car dealer selling the vehicle off a private lot. He seemed honest enough and had a whole list of things that he thought was wrong with the car. I went back the next morning unannounced because I wanted to verify that the vehicle started up ok and didn’t smoke, it did and it didn’t, I bought it for $2100. I drove it almost 80,000 miles (pur. OD reading was 194,000 and 270,000 +/- when I got rid of it.) and I probably could have gotten another 20,000 out of it. The week before I got rid of it I took it to an inexperienced non-diesel mechanic, he over filled the vehicle with oil, instead of blowing out any number of gaskets, it blew a huge spooge of oil straight into one, many or all of the cylinders…that day will be forever known to me as “the day I shutdown the road”, Interstate 85 Concord exit looked like a white cloud…all 6 lanes. I had the vehicle towed to back to my house outside of Charlotte. I called my buddy in Charleston SC and asked him if he wanted it for scrap (thinking I blew it up)…he came up, tinkered with it a little and drove it home, 180 + miles. To this day he still runs it around town…

    When I was younger buying a vehicle with 100k on the motor was foolhardy at best and with very few exceptions…Mercedes Benz Diesels being one of them. Now, not only is the reliability and dependability well known, but the environmentally freindy aspects are being highlighted and with biodiesel and B100 on the front pages, those old vehicles are drying up. People are buying the hell out of ‘em in the Northwest as can be testified to by the $3600 purchase price we had seen a few posts ago…from where is it I come from, we call them treehuggers under our breath but watch fad after fad, turn trend into trend, turn commonplace into commonplace…the old diesels are drying up here in NC as well…diesel mechanics better be honing their skills...

    But cheer up little Honda dood, there is hope for you yet…if you are still not buying a MB, from the looks of things, one day you will be able to “get in the game”

    “..Honda’s new Accord 2.2 i-CTDi Sport has this week set no fewer than 19 world speed records and achieved 3.07 litres / 100 km (92 mpg) fuel economy to boot. British racing driver Robin Liddell and freelance journalist Iain Robertson were part of the European record-setting team…”

    Honda diesel set record

    for the rest of us that don't want to wait around for a *concept* car, wondering if Honda "got it right"...the MB is the answer :0)
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 17,593
    I guess only time will tell if you are correct.

    The big problem I have is the outrageous price of diesel. If it were priced where it should be...much less than gasoline, it would make a lot more sense!
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,403
    But this is all anecdotal, not evidence as we know it. That car you bought might have had a new engine installed, you have no idea, right?

    Most old 300Ds I see are worn out pieces of junk and buyer beware is definitely the rule.

    But if you find a well cared-for 300D or SD or TD, they can be great cars and quite reliable (mine was, after I fixed all the botched up things done by previous cheapskate owners). I'm sure mine is still running happily.

    My point was this: Just because it's a 300D doesn't mean it's any good. It could be the biggest money pit you ever walked into if you aren't careful. People "bought the hell" out of tech stocks, too, some years ago, but it wasn't being smart, because they didn't know what they were buying, they were just following a mini-trend.

    B100 is great, but it's expensive, so it's really a "feel-good" thing and in some ways quite noble----but it's not economical and therefore will not be any wave of any future until it makes sense in dollars AND cents. That's how new tech succeeds, in the realm of the user's checkbook. (see SOLAR energy as an example of this).

    Right now, where I live, driving a 300D on biodiesel is the financial equivalent of driving a gas car getting 17 mpg. If it were a totally modern 2005 gas car, the emissions differences between it and a diesel running on B100 would be negligible, and perhaps the gas engine actually better. The area where the B100 car does best is that it is using a renewable energy source.

    California doesn't even allow new diesel cars at the moment, but they should be back in a couple of years. I"m not sure how manufacturers are going to meet the Calif. standards. Low sulphur fuels will help, and possibly they will use urea injection to eliminate nox. Whether owners will refill their urea supply to keep the engines clean enough is a problem for the EPA.

    You wanna jump on the B100 bandwagon? GREAT! GOOD FOR YOU! But have that old 300D checked out top to bottom and keep shopping, shopping, shopping.

    4 out of 5 300Ds you see for sale will be beaters and not worth fixing. This is why when you shop for used parts in the wrecking yard, you will see LOTS of them.

    The reason 300D prices are going up is because of supply and demand. The old ones are getting junked out, the beaters are on the road limping along, and finding a nice clean one is getting harder and harder.


  • Well, without even seeing the car (which makes my question ridiculous), what's the best and worst I might have accomplished by buying this 1985 300SD (turbo diesel) with 147,000 miles on it? Now I have 150,000 miles. That's the one with the A/C I discovered had a minuscule leak (I got it charged, and will fix the leak next oil change). I replaced the radiator, thermostat, one brake caliper, the brake pads. Everything now seems to be working in perfect order ... and thank you for telling me about that additive for the diesel, by the way.... I'll get some right away. Wheels have been updated to new ones so the car looks newer than 1985. It's ivory, 2nd paint job, looks very good. Leather interior is mint. Bought it from a European guy who bought it from his brother who is the 1st owner. They "spruced" it up with improved sound system, the wheels, new headlights (they gave me the old ones... said these were more expensive and I guess made it look newer, I dunno), and the stupid chrome wheel trim that I immediately ripped off. He wanted $6K, it was all I could do to get him down to $5400. Think this car would ever be desirable as a "collectible"? Anything else I can have my trusted mechanic to keep an eye on, or other things I can do to keep it going as long as possible? I drive a lot of miles, and I really don't want to always be in the shop like I was with my old 300D that was wrecked. NOBODY at my office has had their auto in for anything but an oil change in the last 2 years. Seems like I was always having to hitch a ride to work. I was hoping this purchase was a wise one, that I'd have the most dependable car on the road that would last another 200,000 miles. Thoughts, anyone?
  • bio0rb100bio0rb100 Posts: 4
    "..The big problem I have is the outrageous price of diesel. If it were priced where it should be...much less than gasoline, it would make a lot more sense..!"

    Well we could go on all day about the political aspects of gas and oil prices and point fingers at just about any (if not all) of the Presidential Administrations over the past four decades. But you are correct the price of diesel "round these here parts" was at $1.35 not 4 years ago. The price held pretty constant even when the fluctuations of regular unleaded drove the price per gallon to $2.00+.

    "..B100 is great, but it's expensive, so it's really a "feel-good" thing and in some ways quite noble----but it's not economical and therefore will not be any wave of any future until it makes sense in dollars AND cents.."

    I think what we are currently seeing is artificial manipulation to bring the cost of petroleum diesel comparatively equal to the cost of the latest and greatest technologies. Or maybe we are seeing the governmental subsidies being removed to bring the cost of fuel to where it should really be based on economic growth over the past decades. In either event after taking the advice of Mr_ShiftRight (Thanks!), this week I filled my tank with B20 biodiesel blended fuel ($2.19p/g) , I am unprepared to run a B100 as it will probably blow "gunk" into my fuel filters ...I'll need to figure out how to change them out in short order...and I need to replace hoses, seals and o-rings with viton. It is my understanding that this has to happen to any vehicle pre '93.Some people are claiming B100 for 70 cents a gallon although I think it might be pretty far fetched and alot of work...

    Taking into consideration that many warranties on new diesel vehicles (more specifically VW) are void if you run blended fuels greater than B5 (please see owners manual if you drive one), older model diesels are probably the right way to go...

    The Benz Diesel is a tough car to beat and of course the story of my 190d is only one story, as requested - a success story, but show me a 1984 vehicle that'd go 200,000 + miles? It can be done but on a VERY limited basis...

    I like my '92 300D and after I get some of the quirks addressed, the black smoke when the turbo kicks in is my biggest concern but I found out today high heat and black smoke appear to be a problem while running the AC as well :0/...I am sure I will love it. I have scheduled an appointment for next week... unless you own the tools and have the time, the most dreaded part of owning an MB (or any import really).... is the "appointment" ... :0)
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,403
    No, the car will never be a collectible, so forget about that. Your "investment" will only be in the miles driven. Since it costs about 40 to 45 cents a mile to drive a new car (with depreciation included and all maintenance and repairs but not of course insurance costs), then if you beat .40 cents a mile you're doing fine. Your car has already depreciated most of the way down. If you keep it nice it can't go too much lower, maybe another $1,000 at most. Remember, car payments these days are at least $300 a month.

    No reason why you can't get many years of use out of it but 340,000 miles is quite unrealistic unless you're planning to sink a lot more money into it. Another 100K is more in keeping with the fat part of the bell curve. A 340K car is like a 100 year old happens, but not very often and the odds definitely aren't with you. Get those numbers out of your head and lower your sights to the achievable is my advice.

    "dependable" is a strange word these days. Most new cars are more dependable than old ones because very weird stuff happens when you crank over 200K on a car---stuff that engineers never planned for---like metal fatigue and stresses from 20 years of constant pounding.

    You must remember that the 300D earned its reputation for dependability in the 1980s, when most other cars were really second rate. There was no Lexus and 10 year warranties were unheard of then.


  • amonra22amonra22 Posts: 11
    i am a new owner of a 82 300D turbo with 140k. Changed all the filters and fluids as I dont know when the last owner changed them. Did a full pad and disk change on the front brakes but forgot to put grease on the new pads and after packing the new bearings forgot to put grease on the spindle where the new disks sits. Should I break it apart to regrease the spindle and pads or will it be ok? Also, the idle is a little rough at a stop light, not sure how to tell if that is "normal" for a diesel or should i get a tune up? other than that the car is fine, nice body no rust, interior is clean with no wear and dash is not cracked. Tach is not working but was told to check the amplifier before replacing the tach unit in the dash.
  • amonra22amonra22 Posts: 11
    One more thing I forgot to add to my posting, the brakes feel spongy and have to push to the floor to stop.I did bleed the brakes but only the front two that I changed. I was told that I probably need to bleed all four lines and that there may be a specific order that I have to do the bleeding in. Was wondering if that may be the cause of the sponginess, and if there is a certain order I have to bleed in. Thanks so much....
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,403
    It's possible you might have let in a little air yes. It's a good idea on these old diesels to flush out the brake system completely and have fresh fluid. Usually you bleed from the wheel furthest away from the master cylinder and then the next closer, etc. (this is for old cars, not new ones with ABS).

    Sponginess is usually an air problem. If you can't get the air out, you may have to bleed the fittings in the master cylinder as well. If that doesn't work you may need to have them "power-bled" at a shop.

    Did you put on new rotors? If your rotors are worn (even if they are relatively smooth) you may be pushing your luck. On your car, you don't turn the rotors when they wear to minimum thickness, you replace them (not too expensive).


  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 17,593
    What am I missing? I assume you mean on the back of the pad and not the friction material? I sure hope so!

    Why would you do that anyway? to reduce squeaking?

    And I don't think you need to put grease on a spindle either unless there is something about those cars I don't know?
  • amonra22amonra22 Posts: 11
    thanks for your help. i did put on new rotors with the pads. thinking bout having it power bleed at a shop but it costs almost as much as the new pads and rotors. Also have a transmission question. Shifts into 3rd rough and kind of lurchingly, when it does there is some exhaust. Took it to Aamco, and the mechanic said it was fine that that is how a diesel shifts. Was glad to hear it at first but now not so sure I believe he knew what he was talking about. Had the transmission fluid changed any ideas as to cause or should I take it to get 2nd opinion.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,403
    Oh yeah that ZF transmission is a notoriously rough shifter. I love to watch 300d owner's heads snap back and forth when I'm behind them. On some models (but I don't think yours) you can adjust the vacuum modulator that controls shifting, to soften it, but I believe that's only on mid 80s on up. Sorry I'm not sure about this but there's too much to remember on Benz---they are always changing everything.

    You can try to bleed the brakes yourself using the old brake fluid in a bottle method. That works pretty well. You could even make your own power bleeder. I've done that. I drill a small hole in the plastic top of the master cylinder reservoir and insert very tightly some clear tubing (like for fishtanks) and then hook the other end to a can of compressed air (or you could even use a bicycle pump). The clear hose has to be tight, though. Then, with the brake fluid under pressure, I can do each wheel one at a time. Of course you might have to re-pressurize if you have to add fluid to the reservoir. then when I'm done I just plug the hole I made with silicon or wax or something like that. Be sure not to drill into the plastic cap's little air hole or if you do, be sure to leave that open when you seal the cap back up.


  • amonra22amonra22 Posts: 11
    thank you so much. as this is my "run around car" and not my everyday car i have an 05 toruareg the rough shifting is something normal and I will get used to it. trying to have some fun learning to fix my mercedes. thanks for the help.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,403
    It's better if you shift manually. That helps some.


  • Curious here..... car for car, everything being somewhat equal, would you rather have a used Mercedes, or a used Lexus? And why?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,403
    Well Lexus doesn't make a diesel so the comparison wouldn't be fair---also the 300D was pretty much extinct before Lexus came out in 1990.

    You might wish to ask this question over in the Sedans topic, where they compare gasoline cars.


  • HI all,
    I think my oil pressure is a bit low. Its above 45 when driving or accelerating or when it is still cold. After it warms and im in traffic or something its right around 30. When i get off the highway after 10-20 miles at about 70mph it is right around 22 or 23 ish. It just seems a little low but i could be wrong. Any feedback would be great. thanks
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